Way back in 2016, UK-based startup company Curiscope launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new teaching tool which incorporated augmented reality (AR) technology. Now the company has announced that a new feature is coming to the product – heart rate tracking.
As Curiscope points out, heart-rate sensors have become a standard feature in fitness wearables such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, and even some smartphones have the capability to use a special sensor to track heart rate. However, the Virtuali-Tee application doesn’t use a special sensor, instead relying only on a smartphone camera.
The Virtuali-Tee itself uses two elements to work, a combination of a specially printed t-shirt and a smartphone all. If someone uses the Curiscope app on a smarthone and points it at someone wearing the Virtuali-Tee, this then becomes an animated anatomical model that lets the user explore the human body.
The new feature lets the Virtuali-Tee track the wearer’s heart rate by simply using the smartphone camera, which lets the app synchronise the AR model with the pulse rate and show the heart beating in real time.
The technology involves a technique with the tongue-twisting name of Contact Photoplethysmography, which as Curiscope helpfully point out, is pronounced Photo-ple-fis-mogra-fi. The method works by measuring the amount of light absorbed by your body. More blood absorbs more light, so as your heart beats and your blood pressure rises, more light is absorbed.
Using a version of this technique, it is possible for the smartphone camera and Curiscope app to track the user’s heart rate in the same way, by having the use place a fingertip on the camera lens. The image is then samples and analysed until a regular pattern is established, and the animation can be started to tie it into the wearer’s heartbeat.
The Virtuali-Tee is available on Amazon and other selected retailers in the UK and US, and Cursiscope say the new feature will be launched on the app soon. For future coverage on new updates to AR and VR content, keep checking back with VRFocus.